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Shadow Blade

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Trouble walked in wearing a red dress. A dress the color of blood spilled under moonlight. There was probably another way to describe such a favored color; being what I was, there was only one thing red looked like. She'd looked much the same the first time she found me, though this time she'd found me in a sitting room rather than a dark tavern Even though it had been a few years since I'd seen her in person, I knew two things.

Maylien dan marchon tal pridu was as beautiful as ever, And she was a world of trouble.

She'd gone through the trouble of tracking me down here, in Kaelin Fei's sitting room, rather than waiting for me at the temple where she'd probably first looked. Which made me wonder who had told her where to find me.

"Aral."Maylien said with all the exasperated fondness that made me remember that we had not parted on good terms, even if we'd been fond of each before the friendship had broken.

Aral? From the shadows laying at my feet, Triss raised his head, the dragon made of shadow tilting his head inquisitively.

I'm okay. Just....Troubled. I whispered back to him on the mental link that connected me to my familiar. The first of its kind, Triss and I were one of only two pairbonds that shared the mental link that allowed us to talk without speaking aloud, and I could feel Triss confusion as he tried to understand. For all that he’d been with me for the better part of four decades, human behavior and worries were sometimes still beyond him.

While the shade had been present in every moment of my relationship with Maylien, from the moment she'd walked into Gryphon's head to ask me to help her kill her sister, to the moment I'd put her on a throne, explaining the complexity of my relationship with the former queen of Zhan wasn't something you could put into words.

Swallowing hard as I refocused on the woman in front of me, I tilted my head. "Maylien....what has the former queen of Zhan tracking me down in her former capital city?" I said, seeing the exasperation deepening at the greeting, and knowing I wasn't being kind. Being kind to her would result in things that I wasn't ready to deal with, not with the ever readily availability of Aveni whiskey which was so much more abundant in Tien then it was at the temple. It was easy to not be a broken drunk when it was hard to get whiskey.

"I need your help."

Why wasn't I the least bit surprised.